BALANCING the day and nighttime economies, pedestrianised streets, and outdoor dining areas are some of the measures that could boost town centre businesses in Wrexham.

That is the view of Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton after she carried out a consultation on proposed changes to the High Street.

Wrexham Council is investigating the feasibility of a public realm scheme in the town.

Councillor David A Bithell, Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Environment and Transport, wrote to Ms Atherton, saying that he hoped funding for this would be found through the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns scheme.

Cllr Bithell said: "As you are aware a town centre site visit to High Street was recently held with officers from Regeneration, Town Centre Management, Engineers and Streetscene.

"The purpose of the visit was to investigate the feasibility of a public realm scheme in the town centre as a phased strategy starting on High Street (phase 1). This area is identified as a priority due to the day and evening economy which attracts a lot of footfall, which raises concerns over safety due to the volume of traffic moving through this area, as well as the benefits of making improvements to enhance the area as a visitor space.

"In order to address this we are in the first stage of consulting with our Engineering section to provide a fully costed options plan with associated timescales for delivery, this also includes speed reduction measures. This will underpin a proposed funding application through the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns scheme to support the delivery of this scheme.

"As soon as a draft plan is available for this scheme I will provide you with a further brief with proposals going forward and expected timescales."

Alongside the council’s investigations, Ms Atherton has also been consulting with businesses along the High Street, town centre traders, residents, and stakeholders about their vision for the town centre.

In her letter to Cllr Bithell, she outlined the results from this consultation noting that many businesses along the High Street are “supportive of a public realm scheme” to pedestrianise the street as this might allow “businesses to expand their outdoor seating creating an attractive hospitality zone.”

However, Ms Atherton also said that she felt it was important that “the Council balances the needs of the daytime and night-time economies”, following concern from some traders that the 24-hour closure of the High Street might deter those using the road for short stay pick up and drop off.

Commenting on the consultation, Ms Atherton, said: “Many businesses have come to me outlining their support for public realm changes along the High Street to create a more pedestrian-friendly space. As a result of Covid-19, outdoor dining spaces have flourished and I think Wrexham’s businesses and residents could really benefit from more outdoor dining, which in turn would support our local economy.

“During my consultation, residents and stakeholders also noted their concerns with noise and safety along the High Street during the evenings. Therefore, from a public safety point of view, changes would also be welcomed.

“However, the Council must recognise that the needs of the day-time and night-time economies must be balanced with any proposals. Daytime businesses should not be detrimentally impacted by any changes, which I hope the Council will take into account.”